Interview With Michael Abbott, Jr., Star of ‘The Dark And The Wicked’

Check out our interview with Michael Abbott Jr., star of the new horror thriller, The Dark and the Wicked (read our review – HERE). Learn about his career, how he got involved with this film, details about his character, and more.

Michael Abbott Jr.

PopHorror – Thanks for talking with me, Michael! What inspired you to get into acting?

Michael Abbott Jr. – I did a third-grade production of the WIZARD OF OZ and my scarecrow decided he would go out on stage (throw away the scripted lines) and say whatever he wanted and from the moment I heard the audience laugh—I knew I wanted to experience that feeling every day for the rest of my life.

PopHorror – That’s amazing. Love it. Do you remember your first gig and how that performance and film impacted your career?

Michael Abbott Jr. – I was trained in classical theater at a conservatory program called the North Carolina School of the Arts—so the first 6-7 years of my professional career were spent on the stage. It wasn’t until Jeff Nichols (an NCSA classmate) wrote a role for me in his first feature, Shotgun Stories, that I was introduced to the medium and fell in love with filmmaking. I credit Jeff to this day for being an advocate for my screen career. The process of making Shotgun Stories was like going to a very no-frills summer camp with zero budget and taking a master class in film. He proved that with commitment and a team you trust that you can make chicken salad out of chicken shit. It’s still probably my most memorable experience and my first.

PopHorror – Sounds amazing! Your new film, The Dark and the Wicked is phenomenal. How did that role come about for you?

Michael Abbott Jr. – Sonny Mallhi sent me the script directly and said “You have to play this role.” He had produced (with Jeff Nichols) a film I did a few years ago called IN THE RADIANT CITY that played really well at TIFF but that basically, no one saw. As soon as I read the script for TDATW I knew I had to do it—and then once I got off my first FaceTime call with Bryan, my decision was solidified. I mean, here was one of the masters of the horror genre laying a fully fleshed character in my lap. I’d be an idiot to turn it down. There was an instant connection from the first time we spoke. We had similar upbringings and similar family dynamics which gave us the ability to communicate on a level that would allow us to root Michael even deeper within this story.

PopHorror – I’m glad you did. The film wouldn’t have been the same without you. Can you tell us about your character?

Michael Abbott Jr. – It wasn’t easy to step into the boots of a character dealing with this amount of loss and hurt, but it was certainly alluring to dive in and dissect his psyche. I love a challenge. I’m an actor because I like to tell stories that make people feel…something…anything. This story definitely grabs the audience and forces their heart into a vise from the get-go. The stakes are very high for Michael Straker. His relationship with his family has obviously been strained for a long time—but it’s still his family and the only family he knows. He’s loyal and willing to do whatever he has to in order to make sure everyone is attended to and all affairs are in order.

PopHorror – Could you relate to him at all?

Michael Abbott Jr. – If you agree to play a role that you can’t relate to in some way, then you’re doing yourself a huge disservice as an actor. Often times the relating is personal and private which was certainly the case here.

Michael Abbott Jr.

PopHorror – Any favorite scenes or memorable moments on set?

Michael Abbott Jr. – Every moment on set with this cast and crew was an absolute pleasure. Everyone was there because they wanted to be there and believed in Bryan’s vision. There was a strong sense of family, which was ironic because we were there showcasing a family that was incredibly detached and crumbling from their core.

PopHorror – That’s great to hear. Are there any roles that you haven’t done yet that you would like to do?

Michael Abbott Jr. – We’re due a great western that isn’t cheesy and doesn’t suck. I’d certainly throw my hat in the ring for that. Any excuse to get back on a horse. (Insert THE DEATH OF DICK LONG joke here).

PopHorror – Hahaha. Do you enjoy the horror/genre and if so what is your favorite horror film?

Michael Abbott Jr. – I’ve never gravitated towards the horror genre as a spectator for no other reason than that they scare the shit out of me. I’d also never been a part of a horror film as an actor. From the moment I read Bryan’s script I was instantly drawn to the story and the characters, he had created. Louise and Michael were every day (relatable) people dealing with the pain of loss in a devastatingly real/organic way. They weren’t caricatures being chased by a boogeyman with an ice pick and that’s what drew me in. The loneliness, the isolation, the abandonment—all of that mixed with a dash of religion to taste and you’ve got yourself a brain effer that leaves people numb with fear and questioning everything (with the lights on.) Those ingredients attracted me instantly.

PopHorror – Any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?

Michael Abbott Jr. – Yes, but unfortunately, I can’t talk about any of them. Ask me again in January. 2021 is going to be an exciting year!

PopHorror – I look forward to it! The Dark and the Wicked is available On Demand and Digital from Shudder and RLJE Films.

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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